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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SKREEK, n. Also screek, skriek, screak; ¶skraik (Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 43); skreech, screech, screach, scr(e)ich, schriechs; skreigh, screigh, screegh; skreeh, skrieh; scraich, scraigh. [‡skrik, skri:ç; occas. skre:ç]

In phr. skreek o day, the peep of day, first light, the crack of dawn (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 423; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Abd. 1897 Trans. Bch. Field Club IV. 81; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Arg. 1936 L. McInnes S. Kintyre 15, schriechs; Ork., ne., m. and s.Sc. 1970). Also skreek o dawn (Uls. 1953 Traynor Gl.; Edb. 1970), -daylicht, -licht, -mornin(g), -sky, id., and in reduced form screech and deriv. skraichum (Per. 1928).Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 325:
A proverbial expression in this county, the screich of day light.
Rxb. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 337:
The page he look'd at the skrieh of day .
Sc. 1815 C. I. Johnstone Clan-Albin I. ix.:
He was at Ballyruag by the “screech”.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
To send the crier through the toun for ye at skreigh o' day the morn.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 47:
The morn, Glenalvon, by the screek o' sky.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 228:
A laverock thus, at skreek of morn.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe xxvii.:
I'll be away by the scraich o' day.
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xxxi. 15:
She's up in the mornin' by the screigh o' licht.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 8:
She wrocht fae skreek o' mornin' till the mirkest oor ye'll name.
m.Sc. 1932 Matt Marshall in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills (1982) 10:
When ye couched it in the heather
Were ye chittered by the win?
Hae ye waukened in the mist at skreigh o day?
Fif. 1933 J. Ressich Thir Braw Days 29:
Somewheres aboot the skreigh o' dawn.
Edb. 1958 J. W. Oliver Peevers 18:
'Tween the screigh o' day an' the gloamin'.
Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 11:
So you can imagine how I felt when I heard someone bellowing and shouting at the screich of the following day.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 30:
" ... The Corbie Coach is wytin at the Castlegate staunce in the toun o Aiberdeen, far aa consairned may board her. Takk tent tae be back in yer places bi skreich o dawn neist mornin, on pain o everlastin damnation".

[A variant with prothetic s of Creek, q.v. See S, letter, 5. The forms have become confused with those of Skreich and Skraich.]

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"Skreek n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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